Career anchors facilitate career choices

You can use career anchors to weigh your career choices and current job. Set the career anchors in an order of importance – usually one or two anchors rise above others.

Are your most important anchors in keeping with your current job and situation in life? The better you identify your anchors, the better you are able to aim at your main competence areas and your best suited career opportunities.

Technical/Functional competence

  • Especially motivated to perform work requiring specialised competence.
  • Derive satisfaction from being able to use their specialised talents.
  • Career development does not necessarily refer to ascending a corporate ladder but instead, for example, an expansion of responsibilities involved in the current position.

General Managerial competence

  • Interested in leading other people.
  • Willing to advance to an organisational level on which they can influence matters and make decisions.
  • Value competence and experience in various operations and fields, which gives a general manager's qualification.


  • A strong need to work under one's own rules and steam.
  • The work may contain clearly defined goals, but freedom of action must be substantial when pursuing them.


  • When security is a person's primary motive, it is usually a dominant factor throughout his/her working life and limits the career choices made.
  • Seek employers with good financial standing and secured employee and other benefits.

Locality commitment

  • One subcategory of the security/stability motive and anchor is locality commitment, which means that an employee is not prepared to relocate from a specific area, or at least not permanently.

Entrepreneurial Creativity

  • Seek their own paths and wish to create and build.
  • May also succeed as an employee in an organisation with sufficient creative challenges and true power to act like an internal entrepreneur.

Service/Dedication to a cause

  • Wish to implement values important to them at work and do good.
  • Hope to receive appreciation and recognition for their work and to have its significance show.

Pure challenge

  • Challenges form the most important driving force.
  • Moves from one challenge to another, constantly seeking more difficult dilemmas to tackle.
  • It is important to have a constant possibility to develop and test oneself at work.


  • When a person's main motive is lifestyle, a career is not the most important thing in life.
  • Wants to organise his/her work and career in a way that enables a balance with private life.
  • Hopes for a flexible job and is also prepared to be flexible him-/herself.

The concept ‘career anchor' was coined by the American Professor Edgar H. Schein.